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03/02/09 4:25 PM EST

Penny's first Sox start may be delayed

Right-hander had tough time getting loose during BP Sunday

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- As a precaution, the Red Sox might postpone Brad Penny's first exhibition start, which is currently scheduled for Thursday against Puerto Rico's World Baseball Classic squad.

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Penny's batting-practice session on Sunday at City of Palms Park was cut to 25 pitches when the right-hander had trouble getting loose.

"We cut his bullpen and BP short [Sunday]," Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell told WEEI.com from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Monday, where the Red Sox played the Orioles. "It got to the point where he threw 25 pitches of BP and he didn't feel like he could get fully loose and certainly not turn up the intensity. So rather than push it further, we felt it was a point of diminishing returns, so we cut it off at that."

The Red Sox have brought Penny along at a slightly slower pace than the team's other starters this spring because of the right shoulder woes that shortened his 2008 season to just 19 appearances.

Boston manager Terry Francona didn't have a chance to speak with Penny before going to Fort Lauderdale on Monday, so a definitive decision on whether the righty will face Puerto Rico isn't likely to come before Tuesday.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.